Bark of the Birch
Birches have always been my favorite members of the forest. I'm fascinated by their stark whiteness and the distinctive patterns in their bark. On a hike with my husband last spring, I spotted a small cluster near the water's edge and noticed for the first time that the smooth bark reminded me of the porcelain clay I use in my studio. I began to wonder if I could create pieces that would not only bear a visual resemblance but would also feel like birch bark. So, I took photos to fuel my inspiration, collected samples, and set to work. The pieces shown below are wheel-thrown or hand-built porcelain, burnished and sponged with thin layers of slip and underglaze to create a base for the birch bark textures. Each texture is hand carved with an X-Acto blade and filled with additional slip to build up the layers of character. I leave the surfaces raw so that when fired, you can feel the velvety quality of the bark, the grooves of the lenticels, and each of the rough knots in your hands.
Please click on the images below for a larger slideshow and more details on each piece. You can find more on my process and inspirations on my about page.